Give a Dovecote Birdhouse for Father’s Day


June 12, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:38 am

Dovecote Birdhouse features vinyl/PVC with copper roofBecause Father’s Day is on the way, we’d like to offer a few unrivaled ideas for those dads who dig birds!

Looking for something special this year? A lasting gift to bring some real enjoyment can be found in birdhouses and feeders. There’s nothing better than escaping daily chaos by connecting with nature… well, maybe a trip to the beach?

Grabbing time to just sit and watch birds at a feeder does something for heart and soul, it soothes the mind and quiets the brain. Listening to birdsong also has a tranquil effect, after all, it’s been around since the dawn of time.

Traditional dovecote birdhouses have a new spin for sports-minded dads too! Sized from bluebird to mansion they’re available in team colors. Since these are made to order, best to shake a tail feather to get it in time for Father’s Day. Monday 6/15 is last call.

Fathers-Day-Bluebird and Dovecote Birdhouses in Team ColorsLots of other unique gift ideas too, but remember the early bird catches the best birdhouses and feeders!

Oh yeah, the real beauty here is durable vinyl/PVC construction. These post-mounted bird homes look like wood, but wear like vinyl siding on a real house. There’s no deterioration, no rotting or cracking. Take a garden hose to them for cleaning, they’re built to last and USA made :)  Do right by Dad with a gift that’s guaranteed to please him… and the birds!

Texas Rains and Blue Bird Houses Gone Wrong


June 6, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 3:56 am

In no way meant to diminish the extent of damage and loss from recent Texas floods, but being bird nerds, we wanted to convey the devastation at bird level too. Below the video is a devoted landlord’s heart breaking account of several days inside one of her blue bird houses.

The video below gives a good look at the Red River, check the panicked birds at 0.50. Possibly tens of thousands of cliff- and barn swallows were nesting under the three main bridges that succumbed to rising water, they lost homes and babies. Birds really do give us a glimpse of our changing environment.

“Well my first clutch did not work out well. I have a box in my yard, male and female came, made a nest and laid 6 eggs .
Everything was going great. Then the storms hit. The male disappeared and left Mama to tend to 4 that hatched. I provided meal worms in hopes to help her out.

The rains just wouldn’t let up and she was having a very hard time getting any insects except the meal worms I provided. Then house sparrows came, even with a sparrow spooker, the female HOSP kept looking into the box. This prevented the Mom from leaving to hunt. I set a ground trap and did catch the pair. One bluebird nestling was dead in the nest. Then came home a few days later and a Red Tail Hawk was in the yard trying to get the house sparrow – needless to say mama blue was very upset and no telling how long she went without hunting that day.

Two days later another dead nestling. There were no signs of trauma but the nest was wet. I was forced to do a nest change and the remaining two were 16 days old. Two days later, after more torrential rains, another dead nestling. So I changed the nest again and tried to weather proof the house better. The storms were so severe that I figured that is why the last one didn’t fledge.

Yesterday I took the last one out and changed the nest again but noticed her wings were not normal. Only flight feathers and none of the smaller blood feathers (?) With help from the folks on Facebook, I found a rehab place. She lives in Ft. Worth and it’s about a 45 minute drive but I was going to take her the baby. She asked where I lived and she was surprised and said she was in Joshua now at the DQ!

I bundled up the nestling “stormy” and took her to the lady. She said it looked to be a nutritional problem and felt she will be able to save her! I took the box down, replaced the roof and new screws in where they were loose. Cleaned out the box real good and put it back. I know the mom is very upset, she is still calling this morning even through the storms :( I feel so bad for her.”

Even those who don’t use blue bird houses are suffering heavy losses with downed trees and limbs and breaking snags.

Keith Kridler of Mt. Pleasant, Texas writes: “The reason Texas is having so much flooding is due to just how flat the Eastern half of the state is. Rivers are normally slow flowing nearly flat river bottoms with on average only one foot of fall or elevation change per one mile of river bed. Link below is to a short video of the Red River that flows between Oklahoma and Texas. Video is from last week and this bridge will go completely under water this weekend and or by Monday now. Notice in the one shot there appear to be hundreds if not thousands of Cliff Swallows flying in the air. These birds nest by the tens of thousands under these major bridges all across Texas. All three of the major bridges crossing the Red River between Texarkana and Paris Texas are thought to be going under water this weekend and or first of the week. Or about 100 miles from first to last bridge along the river. There are many videos of flooded bridges, watch for the numbers of swallows at each bridge.

I have counted as many as 1,000 Cliff Swallow nests under a single short span of highway overpass over a two lane farm to market road locally. Nearly all of the videos coming out of Texas are showing large flocks of Swallows circling these bridges and over passes that went under water. Barn Swallows and Cliff Swallows and also Eastern Phoebe’s nest in small road culverts that are normally dry in the summer. This summer most of these have gone under water multiple times. You sometimes find bluebirds, House Sparrows and other small species of cavity nesting birds that will nest in or on the left over swallow nests under these bridges and over passes.

Herds of wild hogs are getting pushed out of these river bottoms, deer now have small fawns and livestock are having to be moved upwards of a mile or further on some of the ranches to get above the flood waters. Any high ground near the river banks are swarming with stranded wildlife from snakes to bobcats. Anything that can climb a tree is hanging out in the tree tops.”

Mother nature can be brutal, but she is resilient. Mama blue and others will go on to nest again and raise their young. We hope for all of those who suffered damage and losses that this is soon and life regains a sense of normalcy.

Decorative Bird Houses and Freedom for All


May 25, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 12:14 pm

americana-decorative birdhouseAside from gatherings and bar-b-ques, Memorial Day is a good time to reflect on the freedom we take for granted. Pause for a minute today and think about all those who’ve sacrificed for that freedom we enjoy.

Pretty much free to do as we please on our own property, gardening, birds and outdoor living spaces are bigger (and better) than ever! Decorative birdhouses not only offer refuge for birds, they can spruce up the landscape and turn a boring spot exciting. If you’re lucky enough to have a pair of nesting birds, watching them fledge can be thrilling.

Please, please, do not offer a house with a huge gaping entry as it will attract the wrong birds. Are we bird snobs? Heck no, all the usual suspects gather at our place. By “wrong birds” we’re talking the less desirable, non-native species who threaten our native cavity nesters like bluebirds, tree swallows, purple martins and others. These birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and European starlings and English house sparrows threaten their existence daily.

Ask any martin or bluebird landlord about the horrors of these invasive birds, they actively trap starlings and house sparrows in order for blues and martins to thrive… its the only way, and yes it is legal. If you do a quick search on either of these non-native species, you’ll find blood-curdling stories and some very disturbing images of the havoc they wreak on bluebirds, martins and others. We won’t go into detail here as you’ll see for yourself. And the mess? For heaven’s sake, there’s no nastier bird out there than a starling! This is why several manufactures offer traps specifically for these two species. Sparrow and starling traps are quite popular among anyone hosting a martin colony or bluebirds!

With an innate sense to reproduce, they kill and maim to access nesting space. So this is where freedom to put up any old decorative birdhouses comes into play. If you have one of those cute styles from the fair, or something a bit whimsical from the craft store- it’s perfectly okay. Just be sure the entry is proportional for the birds you’d like to attract. No gaping huge holes as they entice starlings to nest. The entry should never be at the very bottom of the house either, it makes nestlings easy prey for a slew of predators.

Yes the holiday weekend is a time to reflect on freedom, please give native songbirds the freedom to nest and raise their young in peace. Because enough predators already exist, and real-estate is scarce out there, offer proper housing for nesting and don’t encourage these non-native birds to your place!

Fun Teacher’s Gift: Edible Birdie Cottages are Wood Birdhouses


May 20, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:22 am

birdie cottages use real wood birdhouses Need a clever and fun gift for teachers? Something that’s functional is always a good bet, and if he/she happens to be a nature buff, birdie cottages are perfect!

Wrapped in clear cellophane, they make for a great presentation when topped with a simple bow. In sets of two’s, one buy gets two teachers, with something unique and actually usable!

Handcrafted in the USA, real wood birdhouses are used below the premium seed. Songbirds love them now as feeders and later as houses and roosting spots. The larger version is a super cool full-size wren house (All-Seasons Casita) and both are on sale now.Casita edible full size wood birdhouse

Think outside the box this year for a special teacher who’s put forth extra effort inspiring students. Gifts like these are for now and later and do keep on giving… back to the birds :)

The Ant Moat Accessory for All Sweet Feeding


May 11, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:57 am

Ants can't swim, ant moats keep them out of nectarNot just for hummingbird feeders, the all-important ant moat will protect nectar in butterfly and oriole feeders, they’re ideal for jelly feeders too! Ants adore sweet sticky anything, so as long as there’s a hanger, you can use an ant moat. It just comes between the feeder itself and the hook from where said feeder will hang.

Because ants can’t swim, the water inside the moat keeps them from reaching nectar. The pesky things must exude something quite distasteful as one single ant ruins a whole batch of nectar in the feeder, hummingbirds won’t touch it!

Basic colors are red, black, clear and orange for orioles. Some oriole and hummingbird feeders offer built-in moats, but they must be maintained and filled with water to serve their purpose. Let the moat run dry and like magic… ants will appear if they’re anywhere in close proximity.

Here’s a great “how to” video to make your own ant moat. So if you’re the crafty type, and have the time and patience to do these kind of projects, check this video, and ants be gone for good!
https://www.facebook.com/teresa.crain.94/videos/10152707295271986/?pnref=story

Try a Hanging Bird Bath for Mother’s Day!


May 8, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:58 am

Tiffany Glass Hanging Bird Bath is perfect for the deckDid you find the perfect Mother’s Day gift yet? If not, best to shake a tail feather! Printing a nice big color photo of your gift and placing it inside a box that’s gift-wrapped is always an option if you’ve snoozed.

Another good idea to keep in mind: don’t shortchange your mom with a short-lived gift! Yeah, that’s a good one to remember because well, she’s your mother and the reason you’re here :)

Long-lasting gifts bring the most joy, and birding gifts bring a relaxing connection with nature… unlike jewelry or little “chatchkas” that gather dust.

Perfect for any space in the garden or even on the deck, a hanging bird bath rocks! Fresh water entices more birds to the garden, and we can promise, whether a novice or experienced birder, Mom loves to watch her feathered friends! copper hanging bird bath

Hanging birdbaths can even be used as feeders, offering seed, suet, peanuts or fruit to lure migratory birds. The colorful Tiffany inspired bath above offers a traditional appeal, while contemporary styles in solid copper are most mod. Ceramic hanging baths are offered in vibrant and whimsical styles… and all are sure to entice more beaked buddies to the garden!

Why go to the trouble of finding something unique that will actually last? Because on her special day- which comes only once a year- she really does deserve something that brings smiles and real pleasure for many seasons to come!

PB & J in Your Glass Bird Feeder?


April 30, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 3:36 am

Oriole feeder with glass cup for jellyWho doesn’t love a good ol’ PB & J sandwich?

Peanut butter’s pretty good for bird and squirrels in winter too, the extra fat and protein provide calories to stay warm. It’s the base for many types of commercially made suet cakes, and you can easily make your own!

We smear some peanut butter on squirrel corn and right on tree trunks during frigid weather. Nuthatches, woodpeckers and warblers love it! But when spring migration rolls around, it’s all about the grape jelly, plus living in Hotlanta, the peanut butter will melt too quickly!

Orioles and cat birds adore grape jelly… but don’t try and get away with the cheap stuff, they seem to prefer Welch’s!

Because it has a glass, and for all intent purposes, this fun oriole feeder is posing as a glass bird feeder for today. The cup holds enough for a few days of food, depending on your bird traffic. One really cool thing we’ve discovered with this feeder is that it can be used year-round, when migratory friends are long gone.

Swap peanut butter for jelly, and suet for the orange halves… you’ll have some very happy resident birds! Lots of online recipes for making your own suet, including no-melt varieties for warm weather feeding, find a few quick suet recipes on our site too. Form suet balls and simply cut them in half to use with this feeder in cold weather!

Check out these orioles up close, chowing down on their favorite food!

Blowout Sale on Copper Roof Birdhouses will WOW Mom!


April 22, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 8:04 pm

Copper Roof Birdhouses with huge discounts- durable vinly/PVC is guaranteed for lifehappy mother's day

Give the queen her castle this year! You can make this Mother’s Day splendid, and one that Mom remembers with stunning copper roof birdhouses. Overstocked and drastically reduced for quick sale, prices have never been so low, and free shipping sweetens the deal!

These architectural vinyl houses look like wood, they’re totally functional for feathered friends and add some major curb appeal too. The best thing is they’ll look new years down the road… we guarantee them for life.

Sized from small abodes for bluebirds, to large dovecotes and majestic martin houses, all designs feature a roof that lifts for easy nest removal. Decorative brackets (also in vinyl/PVC) are included as shown above, the whole thing slides right on a standard 4×4 post. Finials are composite resin and will not deteriorate either. These fine birdhouses are impervious to weather and insect damage. And oh yeah… birds love them too!

Since the early bird always catches the best selection, and each is made to order, best not delay. Mom’s big day is fast approaching! Be ready with a gift to show your love and appreciation in a way that’s sure to knock her socks off!

Sharing is Baffling: Put a Squirrel Baffle on that Birdhouse!


April 16, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 11:12 am

Keep birdhouse residents safe with a squirrel baffeSome of us feed them while others despise them, but squirrels are usually a large part of bird feeding. You can move the feeders, grease the poles or try any contraption, but the only effective and permanent way to keep critters off your feeder is with a squirrel baffle that’s placed correctly. In this case, correctly means the squirrel has no possible way of jumping from something else to gain access, and boy, can they jump!

But baffles aren’t just for feeders – they protect birdhouses too! Or rather they protect residents inside those houses. Both squirrels and raccoons can and will destroy nests and eat eggs, raccoons will even consume baby birds. Devastating not only to mom and dad, it can be bad for hosts too should you happen to be monitoring the progress of your new tenants.

If the birdhouse is pole-mounted, there’s plenty of options for a pole baffle, with easy wrap-around installation. These open for placement then lock into place. Hanging birdhouse? Not a problem! Simply place a hanging baffle above the birdhouse. With 20-inch diameter, it will deter pesky squirrels and raccoons.Hanging squirrel baffles protect birdhouses hung from a branch

You can even make your own squirrel baffle with a few items from the local home improvement store. The Kingston and stovepipe baffles are popular designs among bluebird monitors. Just do a quick search for directions on how these are made.

Offering places for birds to nest is a great way to entice them to your place without actually feeding them, and fresh water is another easy method to attract feathered friends. But if you put up housing for them… please make it safe! Watching babies grow and fledge is well worth preventative measures.

Thanks for housing the birds :)

 

To the Sad Little Friend on the Bird Feeder Bracket


April 13, 2015
posted by birdhouse chick @ 8:49 pm

Both bird feeder bracket and feeder must be removedYou don’t look well little finch, so sorry but I can’t feed you anymore :(

Every garden pole and bird feeder bracket now sit empty, except for the single bird perched there wondering “what’s happened to my food?”

The best intentions: Down, all of the feeders have been removed in hopes of population disbursement, encouraging the birds to move on. To an avid backyard birder this is heart-wrenching, especially during nesting season and migration. Disease has been confirmed and is being spread through feeders. Even the cleanest set-up won’t stop the spread of salmonella, respiratory, or air-born diseases in birds once its taken hold. Bleached and sparkly clean feeders mean nothing since it takes only one infected bird to start the cycle again.

Safety’s not always in numbers: Finches and pine siskins tend to travel and congregate in large groups. Even though there’s ample feeding stations to accommodate them, they’re more susceptible to the spread of respiratory disease or bacterial infection when large groups feed together.

Course of action: Obligated to do the right thing because attracting birds with feeders brings with it a responsibility to those birds. First and foremost is to remove all feeders. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center lists 4 diseases and 8 precautionary steps to keep disease at bay. It will be about two weeks before the feeders are placed for use again. The ground’s been raked clean, and feeders will be sanitized with 10% bleach solution.

The sight of a sickly bird is fairly obvious if you notice the signs. Lethargic and almost easy to catch, ruffled, unkept feathers, puffed out and sometimes shaking (even though it’s not cold), and swollen eyes or eyelids. They have trouble eating and fly slowly. Upon seeing a dead pine siskin with no signs of trauma last week, the thought of disease had entered my mind. Another the next day, and then a dead goldfinch in full summer breeding plumage confirmed the realization that I’m not helping the birds… but rather killing them :(

So now, I’m not sure who’s more upset? The frantic cardinals perching on empty poles and feeder brackets, the confused nuthatches and chickadees who are nesting and already have clutches, or myself, the one responsible for creating the mess? Woe is me, and what a rotten way to start the week :(